‘Go Green’, ‘Eco-Friendly Homes’, ‘Sustainable Living’ are not just the buzzwords or lifestyle in vogue. While our forefathers lived in harmony with nature, the current generation needs to bring nature to their living spaces to bring harmony to their lives as well. Instead of being dependent on the Government, rules and regulations, the Real Estate Industry, the Architects and so forth to construct eco-friendly homes, the onus lies on individuals to make their current dwellings sustainable.
Green is the New Black
Going eco-friendly is not that tough as it may sound. Building a new home with sustainable features is easy considering the fact that green construction products are now available in the market. Those who already own a home can also make a few modifications and make their homes and society eco-friendly. The first and foremost step to create a green home is to realize and maybe list down the consumption of the house including energy, electricity, water which will give a fair idea about the kind of solution required. Depending on it the following features can be added to make homes greener and closer to nature.
Sustainable and Locally Sourced Material should be used to reduce the carbon footprint in construction. After all, there’s a good reason Eskimo live in igloos and not a high rise building! Houses made of local material are more suitable for the area utilizing the abundantly available raw material and also financially helping the locals.
Energy Efficient Lighting will require making a switch to light bulbs that utilize less energy and last longer. The modern LED lights are better than the old filament bulbs and come in varied colours too. One can also make efforts to minimize the use of artificial lights by efficiently capturing the natural light with help of sunroofs and broad windows according to the location of the house.
Water Efficient Homes reduce, recycle and reuse the water available to them. Set up wastewater management system, rainwater harvesting system for home and society alike, fix leaky taps in time, use flush systems that use less water, bath fittings that optimize water consumption, use treated water for watering plants and flushes.
Harnessing Solar Energy is a very important step for a sustainable home. Use it to light up home, run appliances, regulate the temperature and more. Solar fixtures are now becoming easy and cheaper to install and prices do fall when the complete society or community opts for it.
Waste Management is another essential feature of an eco-friendly house. The wastes must be segregated and treated accordingly. The wet and kitchen waste can be used to make compost for the garden and even be used in biogas plants. Recyclable and non-recyclable products, medical waste, sanitary waste should all be separated and sent for proper treatment.
Plants should be an integral part of one’s home. Depending on the space that one has, one can opt for potted indoor plants, shrubs, herbs, and garden trees. Vertical gardens, green roofs terrace gardens, are options that should be considered. If one has space and time, having a kitchen garden will help provide organic food items and put kitchen waste to good use too.
Sustainable Interior designing advocates using sustainable material and recycled or second-hand furniture to design the homes. Using cork instead of conventional wood for flooring, using toxin-free paints, using bamboo or refurbished furniture go a long way in creating an eco-friendly home.
Small Steps, Big Rewards
Apart from the mentioned broad features that need to be incorporated, there are many small but important points that need to be pondered over and practised in our daily lives that make for an eco-friendly home and life possible. These include but are not limited to
- Unplugging your devices when not in use.
- Replacing your old appliances with energy saving appliances.
- Turning off taps, taking bucket baths and using normal water for washing clothes.
- Better ventilation, use of fan instead of air-conditioners.
- Installing motion sensing lights which turn off when no one’s around.
- Solar powered outdoor lights.
- Using natural filters to clean kitchen water which can be then be used in gardens.
- Minimum, multipurpose, refurbished, and reusable furniture.
The whole motive behind eco-friendly luxury homes is not hurting nature anymore and giving back to it more than we take from it. The cost of constructing or buying such a home almost equals the normal homes. Moreover, with growing awareness, the government and financing institutes are offering sops and lower interest rates for such homes. With initiatives like Smart City being put forth, the need for smart and sustainable homes will also grow. The demand is growing and is expected to beat the demand for the normal home. These small and individual steps will go a long way in making an eco-friendly world.